Feuding pensioners who have been locked in a bitter boundary dispute over less than a metre-wide strip of land claim the legal battle has cost them £500,000.
Terence Doyle said: “This has been so stressful for us and it took a real toll on my late wife. It was just a constant stress hanging over us and I believe it played a part in her death.”
The dispute – over a strip of land which is only 39cm wide in places – has been at the centre of a seven-year battle at Perth Sheriff Court.
Feud has lasted 20 years
But Mr Doyle, a retired hotelier, claims the argument over the land between their luxury villas in the village has been ongoing for 20 years.
At one point in the row, the dispute escalated into violence with the two elderly neighbours brawling and the same court hearing the incident described as being like a “cage fight”.
The pair were told to grow up and act their age by a sheriff, and this week another one has warned the duo to urge their respective surveyors to find a solution to the dispute.
Rejecting a bid for an interdict against Mr Doyle, Sheriff Lindsay Foulis advised the parties to drop the case and move on.
The other party, David Poole, 81, said he aimed to ban his rival from the land for good and called it an “open and shut case”.
Mr Doyle, 82, continued to maintain he is the rightful owner of the land.
He said the dispute began in 1999 within weeks of buying his home and adjoining field in the village near Kinross and claims he has spent more than £400,000 in court fees. Mr Poole claims to have spent £100,000.
An attempt by Mr Poole to ban Mr Doyle from touching the disputed land failed in 2018 but a fresh bid went to court last month in the name of his wife and daughter – the legal owners of the property.
Mr Poole said: “You can’t sell a property if you can’t define it. The sheriff has made four attempts at identifying the areas to which my neighbour must not stray.
“This interdict is the only way, as my lawyers saw it, of removing him from the areas which he has attempted to take possession of.
“There is no mechanism within the current legislation which allows me to properly mark it (the boundary) out. It’s a nightmare.”
‘It’s obvious where the boundaries are’
Mr Doyle said: “He will encroach on a piece of your land and then you’ve got to fight him in court to get your land back. They just bleed you dry.
“This has been going on for 20 years. It’s so obvious where the boundaries are.
“In 2019, I rebuilt the boundary fence. It cost me £3,000. He hired a squad of individuals who managed to wreck the whole thing in six hours.
“The entire neighbourhood are right behind me but this guy is determined to do this. He would love to chase me away from here and get some other sucker to come in who he will then defeat.
“I’ve been hospitalised over the stress of the whole thing.”
Sheriff Foulis refused the Pooles’ latest court bid in a written judgment issued this week, saying: “It is hard to believe this action…commenced in late spring 2014, but there we are – such can be the nature of boundary disputes.”
The criminal court heard in 2014 how the then 75-year-olds were seen grappling with each other and had to be parted by a passing rugby referee.
In 2018, Sheriff Richard McFarlane rejected the claim for an interim interdict preventing Mr Doyle from entering the disputed strip of land.